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Alumni Educator Spotlight: Hillary Seides

hgsIt’s time for another spotlight on the blog! Today’s spotlight is with Hillary Gardner Seides who graduated from the UT Early Childhood Education PreK-3 program in 2011. Read on to see what she’s been up to and her advice for new teachers. Thanks for checking in, Hillary!

Hometown: Chattanooga, TN

Awards: DeKalb County Merit Award: 2014-2015- Top 10% of DeKalb County Teachers

Accomplishments: As a new teacher, I was always searching for teacher resources and ideas that were simple but meaningful for students. I started noticing that many resources for elementary students were more about style than substance, so I decided to start making my own! I created “Teaching Without Frills”, which started as a Teachers Pay Teachers store and has now grown into a YouTube channel and social media account. I aim to share resources and ideas that are engaging and authentic, not just “cute”.

Past Role(s) at the ELC: While at UT, I completed my practicum at the White Avenue ELC in the Kindergarten classroom with Dani Rose.

Personal Interests: I enjoy riding bikes, reading, watching movies, and spending time with my family, husband, and friends!

What are you up to now? I have taught 1st and 2nd grade for the past 5 years. I am currently teaching 2nd grade at a Title 1 STEM school in Atlanta, GA. I also serve as a mentor teacher for graduate students at Georgia State University.

How did your time at the ELC impact your work as a teacher?

My experiences as a part of the Early Childhood Education program have impacted my work as a teacher immensely. My time spent with wonderful professors, advisors, and mentors influenced my core values about children and education. Trends in education come and go, but a teachers’ deeply-held values and philosophy will impact how you teach throughout your entire career.

What would you tell a current student about life after graduation?

I know many new teachers who have become extremely overwhelmed and frustrated in their first few years of teaching. I would encourage new teachers to build relationships with colleagues and ask for help when you need it. Try not to lose sight of what you know about best practice, even if it doesn’t always align with the vision of your current school.   As you become more confident and comfortable within your school community, don’t be afraid to stand up for what you think is best for your students!